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India Prosper On Shortened Day

Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay
Cheteshwar Pujara (front) and Murali Vijay leave the field in Durban after a shortened opening day
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 181-1 (Vijay 91no, Pujara 58no) v
South Africa
Second Test, Durban, day one

Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara shared a 140-run partnership for the second wicket, as India reached 181 for one before bad light stopped play on the first day of the second and final Test against India at Kingsmead on Thursday.

The day came to a premature end eight overs after tea, approximately ninety minutes before the scheduled close of play.

Earlier, starting post-lunch at 76 for one, Vijay (33*) and Pujara (13*) further increased their 35-run partnership for the second wicket, playing with consummate ease. Despite the sun hiding behind clouds after the break, there was nothing more than a hint of movement on the bouncy pitch. The two batsmen made good use of the conditions, playing watchfully yet at the same time scoring at a decent pace.

India crossed the 100-run mark in the 30th over and when, at the end of the 31st over, they were placed at 108 for one, the last ten overs bowled by the Proteas had cost 48 runs without producing a wicket. It was the highlight of the day as run-scoring became easier once the batsmen had got themselves in, something Vijay did with aplomb in the first session as Pujara just carried on his form from the first Test, wherein he scored 153 in the second innings.

In the 34th over, Vijay brought up a well-deserved half-century after grinding his way at Johannesburg without scoring many runs. It was his fourth fifty in 20 Tests, coming off 102 balls, with eleven fours. Notably, he scored at a much better clip than the previous match, outlining the nature of the pitch.

Jacques Kallis (0-23) and Morne Morkel (1-25) bent their backs in the middle phase of the session, trying to get some purchase out of it. But they had to be disappointed as India raked up 60 runs in the 13 overs bowled in the first hour after lunch. Vernon Philander (0-39) came back into the attack in the 43rd over, and Vijay greeted him with a sumptuous cover drive that brought up his 100-run partnership with Pujara.

The number three batsman quietly accumulated his runs, as the 150-mark came up three overs later. Just before tea, in the 52nd over, Pujara brought up his fourth fifty as well, reaching the mark in 17 Tests. He used up 97 balls for it, hitting seven fours.

Dale Steyn (0-47) returned to bowl a nagging spell just before the break, beating Vijay’s outside edge on more than a couple of occasions, as the ball started doing a bit under overcast conditions. Even so, the batsmen survived and went into the break with their partnership intact. Robin Peterson (0-28) was the only other bowler used in the session, toiling without any reward.

© Cricket World 2013

Fixtures & Results

5th December: 1st ODI, Johannesburg

RSA 358-4 beat IND 217 by 141 runs
8th December: 2nd ODI, Durban

RSA 280-6 beat IND 146 by 134 runs
11th December: 3rd ODI, Centurion

RSA 301-8 v IND - no result, rain
18th-22nd December: 1st Test, Johannesburg

IND 280 & 421 drew with RSA 244 & 450-7
26th-30th December: 2nd Test, Durban

RSA 500 & 59-0 beat IND 334 & 223 by 10 wickets